Mar 23rd, 2009
By Courtney Phillips
For a number of years, scientists the world over have been working on the Human Genome Project, a massive concerted effort to identify every single gene in the human genetic code. While this is an effort that is laudable for a wide variety of reasons, there are detractors out there who believe that this project will ultimately end up resulting in major cases of discrimination in the future.
Genetic research has come a long way, and those with sufficient capitol are already able to make decisions based on their children’s lives before they ever take their first breath. Many people believe that this is the best way to the healthiest possible population in the future and that it is only a matter of time before we are able to completely eradicate illnesses that are attributed to genetic factors.
For detractors, this is the beginning of widespread discrimination. With the ability to prevent genetic diseases and eliminate people with these diseases from existing in the first place, detractors believe that those still living and afflicted with genetic disorders will ultimately be viewed as second-class citizens.
Civil liberties groups also cite that privacy will be forever breached as we continue to gather data on individuals, even before they are born, without consent. They believe that biological and genetic data are not public property and should not be treated as such.
Certainly, a great number of discoveries have been made because of the Human Genome Project. Genetic studies in a wide variety of ailments from Diabetes to Crohn’s disease are still being studied and deliberated upon. There are many out there who believe that this is a noble cause, but that actually engineering people with this knowledge is not ethical.
Naturally, there are two sides to this issue of ethics: one that believes it is morally wrong to alter human genetic code and that dire complications may arise from attempting to create a race free of genetic complication; the other believes that it would be unethical to not help resolve problems before they arise.
As the Human Genome Project continues to make significant headway in the field of genetics, there is no doubt that these types of debates will continue. For now, scientists will keep trying to learn as much as they can while mapping human genetic code.
Mar 23rd, 2009
By Courtney Phillips
Reading is a gift that many people take for granted and the availability of books for the masses is something that wasn’t always the norm. Over the course of many years, the book industry has made a significant dent in forests the world over. Although it may be considered a noble cause, there are a few things you can do to help repair the damage or make sure that you aren’t adding to the problem.
Donate to Ecolibris
Over the course of your life, you have no doubt read hundreds of books and periodicals. Ecolibris can help you by taking your donations to help repopulate forests so that we have renewable resources with which to print more books in the future. We cannot keep taking without giving back. Each dollar that you donate helps plant one tree—and you can track the progress of the saplings planted by fellow donors on the blog.
Buy Used Books
Whether it’s at your local used bookstore or online at Amazon or Half.com, there are millions of books out there just waiting to find a good home. Often, people simply read the books once (or not at all) and sell them for a fraction of the price or donate them. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army have books as well, and the proceeds go toward helping people in your community.
With meet-ups becoming the newest segue between the web 2.0 and the real world, there are many groups forming regarding books. From discussion groups to trading circles, people are getting together because of books. Check in your community for meet-up spots and other boo-related groups. You don’t always have to trade for good, but be willing to share and you may find something new that suits your interests as well.
Remember those places filled with nooks that are increasingly empty because of the web? Libraries tend to carry the latest books and are usual full of classics and hidden treasures. In larger cities, branch libraries abound and there are many adventures to be had among the stacks. Some libraries sell old or donated books as well. Go get your card renewed and start checking out what’s available.
Everything else is available on the internet, and books are no exception. Downloading eBooks is easy, less expensive than a first-edition hardback, and doesn’t use any paper whatsoever. Amazon.com even has an eBook reader called a Kindle that is low-glare and supposedly just as easy as reading a book. While eBooks may not have the same aesthetic qualities, they certainly do contribute to sustainability.